Addiction to heroin, opiates keeps climbing in Twin Cities

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A new report shows addiction to heroin and other opiates continues rising in the Twin Cities area. But there were declines in some categories of drug abuse during the first half of 2012.

Among the patients admitted to treatment centers, 21 percent were struggling with abuse of heroin or other opiates. That's a record high and is second only to alcohol among addictions.

One possibly encouraging sign is that addiction to prescription painkillers declined, reversing a recent trend. Drug expert Carol Falkowski says that could be a sign that recent focus on the problem is paying off. Or it could mean that people who become addicted to painkillers are switching to heroin, which remains plentiful and relatively cheap in the Twin Cities.

One Hennepin County Medical Center doctor tells MPR an addiction to the prescription painkiller OxyContin can cost $80 dollars a day, while buying heroin on the street costs about half that amount.

Last fall Minnesota unveiled a substance abuse strategy that spans several state agencies.

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